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Phosphorus (P) has been proposed to directly limit primary productivity in some temperate grassland ecosystems. Our study of a recovering prairie on Colorado's Front Range suggests that P availability, possibly via regulation of nitrogen (N) fixation, may strongly influence N availability in recovering prairie soils. Consequently, increased P availability could indirectly affect plant growth through the alleviation of N limitation. At our site, concentrations of soil inorganic N were nearly three times higher in plots fertilized with P than in control plots. Subsequent acetylene reduction analyses showed that soil N fixation rates were more than double for P fertilization plots. These results highlight potential...
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In this study, we examined N gas loss as nitric oxide (NO) from N-fixing biologically crusted soils in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. We hypothesized that NO gas loss would increase with increasing N fixation potential of the biologically crusted soil. NO fluxes were measured from biologically crusted soils with three levels of N fixation potential (Scytonema-Nostoc-Collema spp. (dark)>Scytonema-Nostoc-Microcoleus spp. (medium)>Microcoleus spp. (light)) from soil cores and field chambers. In both cores and field chambers there was a significant effect of crust type on NO fluxes, but this was highly dependent on season. NO fluxes from field chambers increased with increasing N fixation potential of the biologically...
N limitation to primary production and other ecosystem processes is widespread. To understand the causes and distribution of N limitation, we must understand the controls of biological N fixation. The physiology of this process is reasonably well characterized, but our understanding of ecological controls is sparse, except in a few cultivated ecosystems. We review information on the ecological controls of N fixation in free-living cyanobacteria, vascular plant symbioses, and heterotrophic bacteria, with a view toward developing improved conceptual and simulation models of ecological controls of biological N fixation. A model (Howarth et al. 1999) of cyanobacterial fixation in lakes (where N fixation generally increases...
In some arid regions, rehabilitation of whole system N-fixation may be strongly facilitated by the recovery of populations of the lichen genus Collema. Identification of the limits to recovery of Collema in apparently suitable habitat should inform selection of rehabilitation techniques. We simultaneously tested the relative importance of three hypothetical limits to Collema recovery: active erosion, resource limitation, and propagule scarcity. We found that in our experimental system, active erosion had no effect on short-term establishment of Collema, whereas propagule addition did enhance recovery and microhabitat (a resource availability gradient) also exerted a strong influence. It is possible that attempts...
In this study, we examined N gas loss as nitric oxide (NO) from N-fixing biologically crusted soils in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. We hypothesized that NO gas loss would increase with increasing N fixation potential of the biologically crusted soil. NO fluxes were measured from biologically crusted soils with three levels of N fixation potential (Scytonema-Nostoc-Collema spp. (dark)>Scytonema-Nostoc-Microcoleus spp. (medium)>Microcoleus spp. (light)) from soil cores and field chambers. In both cores and field chambers there was a significant effect of crust type on NO fluxes, but this was highly dependent on season. NO fluxes from field chambers increased with increasing N fixation potential of the biologically...
Cyanobacterial-lichen soil crusts can be a dominant source of nitrogen for cold-desert ecosystems. Effects of surface disturbance from footprints, bike and vehicle tracks on the nitrogenase activity in these crusts was investigated. Surface disturbances reduced nitrogenase activity by 30?100%. Crusts dominated by the cyanobacterium Microcoleus vaginatus on sandy soils were the most susceptible to disruption; crusts on gypsiferous soils were the least susceptible. Crusts where the soil lichen Collema tenax was present showed less immediate effects; however, nitrogenase activity still declined over time. Levels of nitrogenase activity reduction were affected by the degree of soil disruption and whether sites were...
The effects of nitrogen source (N(2), NO(3)(-) and NH(4)(+)) on scytonemin synthesis were investigated in the heterocystous cyanobacterium Nostoc punctiforme PCC 73102. With the required UVA radiation included, Nostoc synthesized three to seven times more scytonemin while fixing nitrogen than when utilizing nitrate or ammonium. A similar increase in scytonemin synthesis occurred when nitrate or ammonium became depleted by growth and Nostoc switched to diazotrophic metabolism with the differentiation of heterocysts. In addition, UVA-exposed cultures grown in medium with both NO(3)(-) and NH(4)(+) synthesized some scytonemin but synthesis increased when NH(4)(+) was depleted and growth had become dependent on NO(3)(-)...
The identity of the numerically dominant N(2)-fixing bacteria in biological soil crusts of the Colorado Plateau region and two outlying areas was determined using multiple approaches, to link the environmental diversity of nifH gene sequences to cultured bacterial isolates from the regions. Of the nifH sequence-types detected in soil crusts of the Colorado Plateau, 89% (421/473) were most closely related to nifH signature sequences from cyanobacteria of the order Nostocales. N(2)-fixing cyanobacterial strains were cultured from crusts and their morphotypes, 16S rRNA gene and nifH gene sequences were characterized. The numerically dominant diazotrophs in the Colorado Plateau crusts fell within three clades of heterocystous...


    map background search result map search result map NO gas loss from biologically crusted soils in Canyonlands National Park, Utah NO gas loss from biologically crusted soils in Canyonlands National Park, Utah